Monday, April 24, 2023


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I was away, so they left a note in the porch.

I needed to sign for a registered letter so would I please call to the sorting office at my convenience.

As it was a Saturday when I got home and saw the note, I had a whole weekend to stew over what might be the contents of the registered letter. I can't remember when I last got a registered letter. My reaction was a bit like receiving a telegramme in former times. That usually meant someone had died or was in hospital and needed immediate attention. They always provoked a sense of foreboding.

In this case it led to a weekend examination of conscience. What might I have done that they, whoever they were, were targetting me in this inescapable way?

  • was it the Ulster Bank correspondence I hadn't replied to, in Ireland because they could close my empty account without any help from me, in Northern Ireland because I was fed up with bad service and didn't want to have any more to do with them? Were they taking me to court? After all, why otherwise go to the trouble and expense of registering a letter?
  • maybe I had been caught speeding? That would be most unfair as I always drive within the speed limit, or to put it another way up to the speed limit, except for the occasional temporary drift.
  • might it have been my reading matter ordered online? I have bought (and read) two books on Brexit and two more on Julian Assange in the last few months. Was this enough for some bot to throw me up on a list of subversive or protesting citizens?
  • was it some aspect of my unrestrained online activity? I mean, I had recently been bounced off for daring to link to a perfectly reasonable article in the Irish language on women's spaces and matters trans. I had also got a twelve hour suspension from Twitter for harassing, and advocating violence against, Vladimir Putin of all people.
  • maybe someone had left me an inheritance, though I couldn't think of any relation or acquaintance who might have been in a position to do so?
  • or was it another call to jury duty? When I was working I had to turn up every morning for a week for jury selection. Happily they didn't like the look of me so I didn't end up on a jury. I later refused a subsequent call on age grounds, after I retired and when I was sort of a carer.
So, this morning I set off in a bit of a stew for the sorting office.

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I quickly tore open the envelope, nearly forgetting to sign for it.

Jesus - DISCOVERY. And COURT. And this registered letter was asking me to cough up any papers I might have regarding the court case. Discovery is when the judge orders every relevant piece of paper to be chased up, discovered and then produced to the court.

It wasn't me Guv, and even if it was I'd never find it. And the period concerned - 1990 to 2002 for a case that has apparently been simmering away since 2001. Sure I wouldn't have a hope of laying my hands on anything that far back.

And this would only arise if I had taken home official papers and not returned them when I retired in 2006. I wasn't sure here if I was feeling like Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Then I saw what it was about: the award of a broadband licence. I thought this had been sorted years ago but maybe that was only the Tribunal and unsuccessful bidders were still in the fray.

Then, blessed relief. Thankfully, I had nothing to do with that sad affair but it was interesting to see it was still simmering away.

I had some experience of procurement in the course of my career and, believe me, it is to be avoided where possible. I was lucky and was not challenged but it is a snake pit and often not easly to navigate. Mine were all kosher and I made sure they would be perceived as such.

Anyway, I have now mailed the Department telling them to count me out. I'm sure that will bring them some small measure of relief and I wish them well in the future in this regard.

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